Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
New Mets INF Robinson Cano said Tuesday that he's happy to be back in New York and "just can't wait for the season to start." But when it does, he's hoping to play second base only.
"To be honest, it's hard when you have to move around when you play second base for 14 years," he said. "Hopefully I'll be able to play second base every day."
Until the 2018 season, aside from 1.0 inning at shortstop in 2013, Cano had only ever played second base. In 2018, he played 69 games at second base while also getting a taste at first base (14 games) and third base (two games).
Here's how Cano's desire to play only second base impact the Mets in 2019 and beyond...
It would mean there's a worse hedge against Peter Alonso
Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen is seemingly bullish on Alonso, saying he views him as an impact piece who will have a chance to be the starting first baseman on Opening Day.
While it would be smart for the Mets to hold Alonso's debut until mid-April to ensure an extra year of team control, he could easily be the starting first baseman right around that time. And what happens if he struggles?
In the event Alonso has serious trouble adjusting to the majors, the Mets -- in full win-now mode -- would need to turn to someone else to play first base.
Wilmer Flores has been non-tendered, so the Mets don't have him as an option to fill in. It could be Todd Frazier, with Jeff McNeil being inserted as the starter at third base. But the Mets' better option would arguably be to shift Cano to first base and use McNeil at his more natural spot of second base.
It could hurt the Mets in the event of an injury to an infielder and hamper in-game moves
Similar to the above, If Alonso gets hurt, the team would be unable to slide Cano over to fill his slot.
If Frazier gets hurt, the Mets would be unable to insert McNeil at second base and slide Cano to third.
As far as in-game moves, having Cano as an option at second base only would hurt the Mets when it comes to double-switching and shifting players around the diamond during games.
The bottom line here is that while it's understandable for Cano to want to remain at second base, where he has played the majority of his games during his career, it would greatly benefit the Mets for him to be flexible about shifting elsewhere in 2019 if the need arises.
Looking at 2020 and beyond, while Cano's defensive metrics at second base still grade out as above average, it's fair to believe those metrics will slowly start to trend downward. And when that happens, a permanent move off second base would have to be in the cards.